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2019 World Cup - Page 2

Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar (Photo: @shoaib100mph)
Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar (Photo: @shoaib100mph)
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Shoaib Akhtar Feels Pakistan Will Win Against India In The 2021 T20I World Cup Final

Shoaib Akhtar made a bold claim regarding the finalists for the upcoming T20 World Cup in UAE. The Rawalpindi Express feels it will be a repeat of the inaugural edition’s final in 2007 where India will lose to Pakistan.

The T20 World Cup remains the biggest and most-awaited cricketing event this year after it was postponed from Australia, 2020 to India, 2021 and was shifted from India to UAE all due to Covid-19. Set to be held soon after IPL 14’s conclusion in the UAE, the tournament will see 12 teams divided into groups of two in the main draw, after the qualifiers, which will be followed by the semi-finals and the marquee final.

Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)
Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)

Shoaib Akhtar Feels Pakistan Will Win Against India In The 2021 T20I World Cup Final Which Will Be A Repeat Of The Inaugural Edition(2007) Won By India

Ahead of the showpiece event in the UAE, many experts and former cricketers have already started sharing their predictions as to who will walk away with the title in the seventh edition of the T20 WC.

Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar, who doesn’t mince his words and remains a vocal critic of Pakistan cricket, feels the final will be a repeat of the inaugural edition, where Virat Kohli-led India will face-off Babar Azam’s Pakistan.  However, Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar made heads turn by claiming that the Men in Green will storm past India in the summit clash.

“I have a feeling Pakistan and India will play in the T20 World Cup final and India will lose to Pakistan. Conditions in UAE will favour both India and Pakistan,” Shoaib Akhtar told Sports Tak on YouTube.

India lift the ICC World Twenty20 trophy at the end of a thrilling final against Pakistan • Sep 24, 2007 © AFP/Getty Images
India lift the ICC World Twenty20 trophy at the end of a thrilling final against Pakistan • Sep 24, 2007, © AFP/Getty Images

India has not lost to Pakistan in any World Cup, be it in the ODI or T20I format. Thus, Virat Kohli-led India has an 11-0 record versus their arch-rivals in limited-overs ICC tournaments. On the other hand, they didn’t play against each other in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) and aren’t going to square off with each other even in the second cycle’s league stage.

India And Pakistan Last Faced Each Other In 2019 World Cup

The last time India and Pakistan faced each other was in the round-robin stage of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where the former won by 89 runs (DLS method). Their last T20 World Cup face-off resulted in India’s 6-wicket win over Men in Green in Kolkata in the 2016 edition.

Nonetheless, Shoaib Akhtar’s claim can come true as India tasted the last defeat versus Pakistan in an ICC tournament final, during the 2017 Champions Trophy summit clash defeat by 180 runs.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Talking about both sides, they are placed in Group B along with Afghanistan, New Zealand, and two other teams set to join from the qualifying round. Group A, so far, has England, West Indies, Australia, and South Africa, while two more teams will join them from the qualifying round.

The India-Pakistan rivalry is an age-old rivalry and games between the two sides are always highly anticipated by fans from both countries. However, due to the unfortunate political situation, the two teams haven’t played a bilateral series since 2012-13. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

The two Asian rivals now only play matches during the ICC events like World Cups and Champions Trophy and Asia Cup which relatively has become one-sided affairs with the Men in Blue edging the Men in Green.

Shoaib Akhtar lauded Indian skipper Virat Kohli for the evolution of India's pace attack
Shoaib Akhtar lauded Indian skipper Virat Kohli for the evolution of India's pace attack
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Shoaib Akhtar Glad To Be Proved Wrong As He Thought Virat Kohli Was Making A Mistake By Being Team India Skipper

Shoaib Akhtar, a former Pakistan pacer was rich in his praise for India skipper Virat Kohli for instilling aggression in his fast bowlers and for changing the mentality of Indian cricket.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Shoaib Akhtar shared his thoughts on India’s evolved pace attack over the last few years.

Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)
Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)

Shoaib Akhtar Thinks Virat Kohli Has Done A Wonderful Job As A Captain

So far, Virat Kohli has represented his side in 92 Tests, 254 ODIs, and 90 T20Is, scoring 7547, 12169, and 3159 runs respectively. He is the only player to average above 50 across all the formats. But the batsman is yet to score a ton in any format since his 136 against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in November 2019. His century drought continued but he will look to make amends in the upcoming 5 Tests against hosts England.

“I think Virat (Kohli) has done a wonderful job as a captain. I said it to Anushka Sharma in a Sony show-‘I think Virat is making a mistake by being a captain. I knew there was a tremendous amount of pressure on him and it would bog him down.”

“In a country like India with a population of a billion, there are around 20,000 TV sets and channels, enough to slam him. In my mind, I was thinking, “he’s a young kid, let him score runs and play his game.”

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

In a way, the 45-year-old was glad to be proved wrong. In the interview, he credited Virat Kohli for instilling the aggression a tearaway pacer needed.

“He [Kohli] took up that challenge of being a skipper. He took it on and made sure that his replica was instilled within the fast bowlers. He wants to see his aggression in his fast bowlers. He’s not actually a Virat Kohli on the field, he is a fast bowler running in the form of an Ishant Sharma or a Bhuvneshwar Kumar or [Mohammed] Shami.”- Shoaib Akhtar

As a bowling unit, Virat Kohli wants his bowlers in the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin to take twenty wickets and has changed the mentality of Indian cricket.

Shoaib Akhtar Was Feared By Batsmen Across The World For Generating Express Pace While Virat Kohli Is Yet To Win An ICC Trophy As Skipper

Shoaib Akhtar was undoubtedly one of the fastest bowlers in international cricket and his 178 Test wickets and 247 ODI scalps bear proof of his calibre. Known for his ferocious pace, intense aggression, and his ability to provide regular breakthroughs at important critical junctures in the game, he was often seen as the main threat by the opposition batsmen.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

He headlined news across the world for bowling a delivery at 161.3 km/h (100.23 mph), in an ODI against England during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Shoaib Akhtar was nicknamed the “Rawalpindi Express” for his breakneck speed. He was also the first bowler to be recorded bowling at 100 miles per hour and did so twice during his career.

Virar Kohli, who was handed the reins for the final Test match against Australia on the 2014-15 tour, has led India in 61 Tests which is the most by an Indian skipper so far. Under Virat Kohli, India has won 36 Test matches.

In the One Day Internationals, Team India has registered 65 victories from the 95 matches. Virat Kohli has captained the T20I side 45 times, and India has won 27 matches. Under Virat Kohli, India has been the most consistent Test side over the past five years.

Under Virat Kohli, India has come close thrice to lift an ICC Trophy – the Champions Trophy in 2017, the 2019 World Cup, and most recently, the WTC final – but have stumbled at the final hurdle. Royal Challengers Bangalore, Virat Kohli’s franchise is also yet to win IPL but finished as runners up on three occasions between 2009 and 2016. They were runners up in 2009,2011 and 2016-the last of which came under Virat Kohli.

Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
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England Would Have Been More Successful If The Hundred Had Started Earlier, Says Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen believes if The Hundred had started earlier, England would have been a much better white-ball team. Kevin Pietersen highlighted how during his playing days there were only three or four English players playing the extravagant IPL. The former batsman also suggested that he was often left frustrated by the England team management’s decision to pick conservative batsmen.

England had a disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign as they lost to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, and Bangladesh. They failed to even clear the group stage hurdle. But since then, under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan, England’s white-ball team has been known to play an aggressive brand of cricket as was evident in their 2019 World Cup victory beating New Zealand in the final in a thriller.

Eoin Morgan of England celebrates with his team as he lifts the Cricket World Cup trophy after the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and England at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Eoin Morgan of England celebrates with his team as he lifts the Cricket World Cup trophy after the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and England at Lord’s Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Kevin Pietersen: England Would Have Been More Successful If The Hundred Had Started Earlier

Kevin Pietersen suggested that if more English players had played in the IPL in the past, England would have adapted to the new ways much quicker.

Pietersen said in an interaction with the Daily Mail: “One hundred per cent (if England would have been more successful if The Hundred had come earlier). I played in an era when only four or five of us were playing IPL cricket and we were all frustrated sat in England teams, asking, “What on earth are we doing blocking the ball? Why are we picking players who block the ball?” Now you’ve got an England team full of IPL stars who get dropped if they block it. It’s a complete change in mindset.”

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

The inaugural edition of The Hundred starts tomorrow, with the men’s edition set to begin on July 22nd.

Kevin Pietersen: BCCI And ECB Should Work Out A Way To Include Indian Male Cricketers In The Hundred

The former England batsman also hopes that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can work out a way to include male Indian cricketers in The Hundred in the near future. Dinesh Karthik recently admitted that he would be open to playing in The Hundred.

However, with current rules set in place by the BCCI, the male Indian fringe cricketers who are still vying for spots in the national team or want to carry on playing domestic cricket have predominantly stayed away from foreign leagues to avoid risking their careers. Kevin Pietersen realizes the number of fans following The Hundred would increase if Indian male players joined the tournament.

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

“The male Indian players make the TV numbers shoot through the roof, and they also make the crowds. They’re so well supported. Politically, if the two boards are on that level and conversations are happening then that would be a huge coup for English cricket,” said Kevin Pietersen.

The BCCI has given NOC to five women cricketers to participate in the inaugural season of The Hundred. Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, and Deepti Sharma are set to feature in the women’s edition of the competition.

The Hundred is a professional franchise 100-ball cricket tournament involving eight men’s and women’s teams located in major cities across England and Wales. The tournament will be run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and will take place for the first time in summer 2021, having been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Woakes, Dom Sibley, Moeen Ali, and Adam Milne will be part of the Birmingham Phoenix, while Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, and Eoin Morgan will be part of the London Spirit. Jos Buttler, Phil Salt, Matt Parkinson, and Lockie Ferguson will be part of the Manchester Originals.

Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, and David Willey will be part of the Northern Superchargers. Sam Curran, Rory Burns, Tom Curran, and Reece Topley will be part of the Oval Invincibles.

Jofra Archer, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Chris Jordan, and Tymal Mills will be part of the Southern Brave. Joe Root, Rashid Khan, and Alex Hales will be part of the Trent Rockets.  Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow, and Tom Banton will be part of the Welsh Fire.

Deep Dasgupta
Deep Dasgupta. (Photo Source: Instagram)
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Heading To The T20I World Cup After IPL 2021 Has It’s Advantages And Disadvantages For India, Says Deep Dasgupta

Deep Dasgupta spoke on how heading into the T20 World Cup straight after the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 will affect the Indian team.

Ever since the news of India and Pakistan being drawn in the same 2021 T20 World Cup broke out, the excitement and anticipation surrounding the marquee clash have skyrocketed. While most experts and pundits have already started weighing in on different aspects of the match, former India cricketer Deep Dasgupta spoke on how to head into the T20 World Cup straight after the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 will affect the Indian team.

Deep Dasgupta. Photo Credit (Twitter)
Deep Dasgupta. Photo Credit (Twitter)

Deep Dasgupta: India Is Slightly Ahead Of Pakistan In World Cup But IPL 2021 Before T20 World Cup Will Have A Disadvantage Since One Doesn’t Play As A Team In IPL

India and Pakistan will face each other in Group 2’s Super 12 stage match. The former wicketkeeper-batsman has remarked that the ‘Men in Blue’ may hold an edge because they would be heading into the World Cup right after the conclusion of the 2nd phase of IPL 2021 at the same venue-UAE. He, however, did not fail to mention that India will have their work cut out in certain areas and explained how the event right after IPL could work against them.

“Yes the way Pakistan is playing at this point in time, the current form if you look at it and everything put together, you can say India might be slightly ahead. The other important thing is India would be going straight from IPL,” Deep Dasgupta said in an interview.

“However, playing at the same venues, that’s an advantage, but that can also be a disadvantage because you are not playing as a team in the IPL, you are playing against each other. End of the day, it’s a team sport and you need to gel as a team. After IPL, that’s your first assignment as a team,” Deep Dasgupta added.

IPL Trophy.
IPL Trophy. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

“The other thing we can’t really neglect is the whole burnout or fatigue because this team which is in England right now will not get a break. From there, they’ll go to IPL, from IPL to World Cup – they’ll be playing non-stop. So you can’t neglect that factor at all,” Deep Dasgupta further said.

The South Asian heavyweights locking horns with each other makes for a mouth-watering contest and tensions reach sky high. The two teams do not play bilateral series anymore due to political tensions, hence making their ICC events match-ups all the more exciting.

India And Pakistan Haven’t Played Bilateral Series Since 2012-13

India and Pakistan have not played the Test series for more than 14 years. As far as bilateral series in ODIs and T20Is are concerned, it has been over eight years. While they face off each other during ICC events and Asia Cup. The political tension between the two neighbouring countries flared up after the terror attack in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.  The last time the two teams squared off was in the 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup on June 16, which India had comfortably won by 89 runs via the D/L method.

The two Asian rivals now only play matches during the ICC events and Asia Cup which relatively has become one-sided affairs with the Men in Blue edging the Men in Green. India has dominated the rivalry in T20 World Cups, just as they have in the 50 over World Cup, and have won all five encounters so far.

The last T20 match played between the two teams was in 2016 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata during T20 World Cup. India and Pakistan will square off for the first after five years in a T20 International match.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
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India Will Think Of Pakistan Game In T20I World Cup Once IPL 2021 Is Over, Says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who will spearhead the pace attack in the upcoming Sri Lankan series starting July 18 has said that a clash between India and Pakistan is always a “high intensity” game but the team is not currently thinking about the T20 World Cup as there is a lot of cricket left before the marquee event.

India’s limited-overs vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the Sri Lanka series led by Shikhar Dhawan expressed his excitement on facing arch-rivals Pakistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup and called it a high-pressure and high-intensity match. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar pointed out that India’s focus was on the next Sri Lanka and England series before the postponed season of the Indian Premier League 2021 which is expected to start from the third week of September.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: India Will Think Of Pakistan Game In T20I WC Once IPL 2021 Is Over

Indian teams and players from other countries will already be present in UAE as the BCCI is also set to host the remaining matches of the IPL 2021 in the Gulf nation.

Notably, hosts India has been placed in the same group as arch-rivals Pakistan as the draws were done on Friday in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman later this year. The last time the two teams squared off was in the 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup on June 16, which India had comfortably won by 89 runs via the D/L method.

“Look, it is always exciting to play against Pakistan, and it is always a pressure and high-intensity match. But, to be honest, we have not really thought about how it is going to be because we have a lot of cricket left,” Bhuvneshwar Kumar, vice-captain of the Sri Lanka-bound Indian outfit, said.

Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

“We have got matches in Sri Lanka and of course Test matches in England and then the IPL and then the World Cup. Once we get off the IPL, we will start thinking about that,” Bhuvneshwar Kumar added.

The Groups of Super 12s have been selected on the basis of team rankings as of March 20, according to the International Cricket Council. Two teams will join each of the groups from the qualifying rounds. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in India but was moved out of the country due to an expected third wave of the coronavirus.
Even before that, the tournament was supposed to be held in Australia in 2020 but Covid-19 prompted it to be postponed. Now Australia will hold the event in 2022.

India And Pakistan Have Not Played Bilateral Tests For 14 Years And Limited Overs For 8 Years

India and Pakistan have not played the Test series for more than 14 years. As far as bilateral series in ODIs and T20Is are concerned, it has been over eight years. While they face off each other during ICC events and Asia Cup.

The political tension between the two neighbouring countries flared up after the terror attack in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel. Since then, there have been many incidents that have erupted on the borders of India and Pakistan. As a result, it had affected the game of cricket between the two countries.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The 2019 World Cup in England was when the two teams last met at a neutral venue. India won that match by 89 runs. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

The two Asian rivals now only play matches during the ICC events and Asia Cup which relatively has become one-sided affairs with the Men in Blue edging the Men in Green.

Rohit Sharma, India
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter
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It Won’t Be A Surprise If Rohit Sharma Repeats His Performances Of 2019 World Cup In 5 Tests Against England: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar expects opener Rohit Sharma to repeat his 2019 ODI World Cup performance in the upcoming five-match series against England starting on August 4.

Rohit Sharma, who opened for India in a Test match in England for the first time in the marquee WTC final, had scored a record five centuries – which was the most in a single edition of a World Cup by any batsmen – in the ODI World Cup in England in 2019. Sunil Gavaskar believes there is no reason why the stylish right-hander cannot repeat the feat this time around in red-ball cricket.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP

Sunil Gavaskar : It Won’t Be A Surprise If More Experienced Rohit Sharma Repeats His Performances Of 2019 World Cup In 5 Tests Against England

The legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar said now Rohit Sharma has added experience of opening the batting for India even in Test cricket and it should not surprise anyone if the right-hander repeats his World Cup success.

Rohit Sharma hit a purple patch in the World Cup 2019 scoring 648 runs in 9 games at an average of 81.00 with five hundreds and a half-century. During the tournament, he became the first batsman in World Cup history to score five centuries in a single edition.

“We saw Rohit Sharma score five incredible hundreds in the World Cup in England two years back,” Sunil Gavaskar had told PTI.

“The century he got against South Africa was on a tough pitch and cold conditions and he made the adjustments beautifully. Now two years later he is even more experienced so don’t be surprised if he repeats that performance in this series too,” he added.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma | AFP

Rohit Sharma was one of the few Indian batsmen who looked in control against New Zealand seamers in overcast conditions in the WTC final in Southampton. The Mumbai batsman was not able to get a big score but his solid technique is sure to give Indian fans confidence ahead of the big-ticket series which is set to mark the beginning of the second cycle of the World Test Championship 2021-23.

Rohit Sharma Will Have More Responsibility In Absence Of Injured Shubman Gill

Rohit Sharma, however, will have added responsibility because of his opening partner Shubman Gill’s injury. Reports suggest that the young right-hander is in danger of missing the entire five-match series. BCCI, however, has not made any official statement on Shubman Gill’s fitness. If the reports do turn out to be true, Mayank Agarwal will likely start with Rohit Sharma in the first Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)
Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)

India does have KL Rahul in their squad and also Bengal cricketer Abhimanyu Easwaran as a reserve, who can be added to the squad as an opener if needed. Selectors have declined the request made by Indian team management to send openers Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal to England to join the Test squad following the injury of Shubman Gill, who has been ruled out for eight weeks after he suffered a shin injury post the final WTC encounter at Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
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Dinesh Karthik Wants To Break The Stereotype That Commentary Is Considered As A Post-Retirement Option

Dinesh Karthik has said that the post of commentary is considered a post-retirement option only in India and he would like to break that stereotype. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who last featured for India in the 2019 World Cup, was one of the two Indians in the commentary panel for the WTC final.

Dinesh Karthik, who is very much an active cricketer became an instant hit in the commentary box with his sharp analytical skills when he debuted as a commentator in the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand last month.

 Dinesh Karthik during the WTC final between India and New Zealand (Courtesy- Sanjana Ganesan Twitter)
Dinesh Karthik during the WTC final between India and New Zealand (Courtesy- Sanjana Ganesan Twitter)

Dinesh Karthik Reckons It’s Only In India That Commentary Is Considered A Post Retirement Option And He Wants To Break The Stereotype To An Extent

Dinesh Karthik says talking on the microphone is much easier than playing cricket but it comes with its own set of challenges. Discussing the game alongside the likes of former England skippers Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain was also an enriching experience for the 36-year-old Tamil Nadu batsman.

Dinesh Karthik was not afraid to sledge Nasser Hussain, yet he earned rich praise from the former England captain. Social media too was full of praise for the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman who brought a breath of fresh air into the commentary box.

“Actually, I was the only debutant of that final,” Karthik said with a chuckle.

While the Indian team went on a 20-day break after the final, Dinesh Karthik moved on to his next assignment — the limited-overs series between Sri Lanka and England. He will also be commentating during the five-match Test series between India and England before heading to the UAE to play for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)
Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)

After the IPL was suspended in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commentary just happened for Dinesh Karthik, who had earlier done some punditry for Sky Sports during India’s home series against England in February-March.

“I did that and it went pretty well. That is when I got the opportunity to do commentary and I decided to go for it. The mindset was just to speak about whatever little I know about the game,” he said rather modestly having played more than 150 games for India across formats.

On the stereotype that commentary is a thing for the former players, Dinesh Karthik said: “There are a lot of other sports like basketball and football where current players come on air when they are not playing.”

“Even now during the Sri Lanka-England T20s, James Anderson was doing it for BBC in the next room. So it is a normal thing, it is only in India I think it is considered like that (post-retirement option). I obviously want to break that stereotype to an extent and I am happy to do this when I am not playing.”

Before making his commentary debut, Dinesh Karthik got to spend a lot of time with Sunil Gavaskar in Serbia, a country they were in for 10 days before entering the UK amid the pandemic.

“I am extremely lucky that it happened. He gave me a few tips (on commentating) and it went well. More than the tips, the time I spent with him was very enlightening and enriching. It was also a lovely country and Sunny bhai and I got to meet the Serbian cricket team which was very interesting.”

Dinesh Karthik is coming across as a natural on the microphone and all he did was take a couple of online sessions (on when to speak on-air, when not to) before flying to the UK via Serbia.

Dinesh Karthik: Commentary Can Be A Lot Of Fun

Commentating on the players one has played with can be awkward but Dinesh Karthik had a way of dealing with that.

“Commentary can be a lot of fun. You need to watch the sport very keenly to contribute in the right manner. Even while talking about the players (teammates), you just speak about the sport and you tell people how hard it is from their shoes. That is what I was trying to do. I enjoyed my process of understanding how each player would think at a certain point of time and speak on what is the right thing to do for them at the point of time.”

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

“It has also been awesome to be sitting alongside Nasser and Athers (Atherton). They are the best in the business and just to get to chat about the game with them is something I have enjoyed immensely besides learning a huge amount,” said Karthik.

He has not played for India since the World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand in 2019 but the Tamil Nadu veteran has not given up on another comeback.

“A lot would depend on how the IPL goes, so looking forward to doing well for KKR and let’s see if that helps me (make the Indian team). Well, playing for India is always hard. You only realize (when you are outside) how tough the sport is. The stats say I have done well over a period of time. If I do well in the second half of IPL, who knows?”

Dinesh Karthik played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs, and 32 T20Is. His last Test came in 2018, while his last limited-overs appearance came in the 2019 World Cup. He wasn’t selected in the 20 member squad recently announced for the Sri Lanka tour of 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
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The Heart That Our Team Showed Was Commendable, Says Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson was ecstatic as New Zealand beat India in the WTC Final as they successfully chased 139 eventually winning by 8 wickets. Coming perilously close to winning World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019, New Zealand realised their dream of being World Champions when they beat India in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship to take the title.

Kane Williamson (AP)
Kane Williamson (AP)

Kane Williamson Praised All The 22 Players Who Played A Role In New Zealand’s First ICC Trophy In 21 Years And 2nd After 2000 Champions Trophy Win

A little less than two years ago, Kane Williamson’s New Zealand endured heartbreak when they tied England in the World Cup final but lost the match on a boundary count rule, but redemption was theirs in Southampton as the Black Caps clinched their first ICC trophy in over two decades.

“It’s a special feeling. It’s nice to get one under the belt. I’d like to thank Virat and the Indian team. The heart that our team showed was commendable. It’s the first time we have come away with a world title, and the 22 players who played a big part in getting across the line deserve all the appreciation,” winning captain Kane Williamson said after the match.

New Zealand celebrate with the ICC Mini World Cup/ Champions Trophy 2020 in the dressing-room Getty Images
New Zealand celebrate with the ICC Mini World Cup/Champions Trophy 2020 in the dressing-room Getty Images

“This will be remembered for a long time. We don’t always have all the stars, and we saw that in this match. We saw so much heart and commitment. We know how strong the Indian side is, in all conditions.”

New Zealand’s first ICC crown came in the form of the Champions Trophy which they won beating India in 2000. The Kiwis had made the summit clashes of the last two ODI World Cups – 2015 and 2019 – but failed to cross the final hurdle.

Kane Williamson: Fitting End To A Fantastic Career For BJ Watling

The WTC wins a lot for plenty of New Zealanders especially for Kane Williamson, who has been absolutely phenomenal ever since taking over as the captain of the side, for Ross Taylor, who has been a linchpin of their batting order for as long as one can remember, for pacer Kyle Jamieson, as the all-rounder couldn’t have asked for a better first ICC final of his career, and veteran BJ Watling, who ended his career on a glorious high.

 “It’s a fickle game, in a one-off final. It ebbed and flowed, no one really had the upper hand for six days, and I’m happy we’re on the right side of it. It was certainly tough going in the first innings. The lower order played with more freedom and got us a lead that gave us an edge,” Williamson added.
BJ Watling retired after WTC Final | Photo: Blackcaps
BJ Watling retired after WTC Final | Photo: Blackcaps

“Ross is obviously very experienced and calm in these situations and it was great to be with him right there at the end. BJ Watling – I don’t know if he’s retiring anymore actually (jokes). He’s a scrappy player, so this is a fitting end to a fantastic career for BJ Watling.”

Between 2009 and 2012, BJ Watling played only eight Tests – the first six as a specialist batsman – before settling into the role of New Zealand’s full-time wicketkeeper for the longer format in 2013. He played 75 Tests and has 8 tons massing 3790 runs averaging 37.52.

In a career spanning over a decade-and-a-half, Ross Taylor is New Zealand’s most-capped cricketer with over 400 international matches across all formats. The 37-year-old is also his country’s leading run-scorer in international cricket and has recorded over 18,000 international runs.

Kyle Jamieson has played only 8 Tests but already has 46 wickets to his name at an extraordinary average of 14.17 with as many as 5 five-wicket hauls. He has also played 5 ODIs and 8 T20Is where he doesn’t have as much success with the ball as that in red-ball cricket.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma Twitter
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Reetinder Singh Sodhi Reckons Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli Can Play Match-Defining Knocks In WTC Final

Reetinder Singh Sodhi has expressed hope that the Indian batsmen, veterans Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli can rise above their somewhat indifferent records in tournament deciders and play match-defining knocks in the much anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) final.

India will face New Zealand in the WTC final, starting at the Aeges Bowl in Southampton on Friday, June 18 onwards. The Indian team will be relying on the duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to make a telling contribution in the title decider.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi
Reetinder Singh Sodhi. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi: One Out Of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, And Cheteshwar Pujara Will Have To Play A Big Knock

During a discussion on India News, Reetinder Singh Sodhi acknowledged that the duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have not come up with stellar performances in tournament finals in the recent past.

“I totally agree with you because stats say a lot. The New Zealand bowlers or their team will also be discussing that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have not done much in such matches, so there they can go on the attack,” Reetinder Singh Sodhi said.

The former India all-rounder however pointed out that the onus will be on the trio of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara to play substantial knocks in the WTC final as a lot will be expected from them.

“But this is a pressure match and here one out of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will have to play a big knock because they know the conditions and have the experience and can be match-winners on their day,” Reetinder Singh Sodhi added.

Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma IMAGE: AFP

He added that opener Shubman Gill and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane can play the supporting role if one of the three aforementioned batsmen delivers the goods for the team.

“After that, Shubman Gill and Rahane can play the cushion role but at the end of the day, one out of your top-class three batsmen will have to fire because this is a pressure-cooker match and whichever team takes a session easy can fall behind,” Reetinder Singh Sodhi said.

With Team India going into the WTC final with five frontline bowlers, all the six specialist batsmen, including Rishabh Pant, will have to take the additional responsibility to ensure that they post a fighting score on the board.

Rohit Sharma’s Indifferent Record In Final May Motivate Him To Do Well In WTC Final: Virat Kohli’s Coach

Virat Kohli’s coach Rajkumar Sharma observed that his ward and Rohit Sharma’s slightly indifferent record in tournament finals should act as a motivating factor for the duo.

“I would like to feel that this will motivate both of them further, that they have not performed well in these matches and this is the right time for them to deliver. Both are mature players, they will definitely convert if they get a start and I have full expectation that both are motivated,” Sharma said.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma | AFP

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be particularly perturbed by their collective failures in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and the 2019 World Cup semi-final. They will hope to put all those demons to rest by making match-winning contributions in the WTC final.

Rohit Sharma hit a purple patch in the World Cup 2019 scoring 648 runs in 9 games at an average of 81.00 with five hundred and a half-century. During the tournament, he became the first batsman in World Cup history to score five centuries in a single edition.

In the 2017 Champions Trophy, Virat Kohli had scored 96 in the semi-final against Bangladesh. It was part of a 178-run partnership with Rohit Sharma as India made light work of the 264-run target set by Bangladesh. But, both times the outstanding batsmen failed in the deciding final or semi-final as India lost both the tournaments.

Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor
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Ross Taylor Admits He Might Have Retired If New Zealand Had Won 2019 ODI World Cup

Ross Taylor, a New Zealand middle-order batsman has stated that he might have retired from international cricket if his side had won the 2019 ODI World Cup.

Two years after the heartbreaking disappointment at Lord’s, New Zealand is set to play India in another ICC tournament summit clash. The inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, beginning at Southampton on Friday, will be New Zealand’s third final at a world event in six years.

Ross Taylor:- REUTERS/Ross Setford (image sourced from Otago Daily Times www.odt.co.nz)
Ross Taylor: REUTERS/Ross Setford.

Ross Taylor Admits It Was Disappointing To Lose 2019 World Cup Final

After losing the 2015 World Cup final against Australia, New Zealand beat India in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup to set up a grand finale date with hosts England.

The final ended in a tie, following which the teams tussled in a Super Over which also ended in a stalemate. England was eventually crowned 2019 World Cup champions on the pre-decided “boundary count” rule which was scrapped later.

“It was disappointing to have lost that match at Lord’s a couple of years ago. I guess, when you lose, you feel that it might be the last time you are playing a World Cup final, so it is nice for me to be here.

“If we did win that game, I might have retired after that. I am glad I did not, and I am here today,” said  Ross Taylor during a virtual press conference.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Eoin Morgan of England celebrates with his team as he lifts the Cricket World Cup trophy after the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and England at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

In a career spanning over a decade-and-a-half, Ross Taylor is New Zealand’s most-capped cricketer with 442 international matches across all formats. The 37-year-old is also his country’s leading run-scorer in international cricket and is just four runs shy of recording 18,000 international runs.

Ross Taylor Looking Forward To The Challenge Of Meeting Fantastic Side India In The WTC Final

Ross Taylor called India a “fantastic side” as he praised the Kiwis’ WTC final opponent, and hailed their win in Australia last season which was great to watch. The Kiwi batsman believes the Indian side has all the necessary ingredients to excel in the WTC final.

“India has been a fantastic side for a long period of time — not only their batters but also their bowlers. They won a series against Australia in its home summer, and it was great to watch. It was nice for the New Zealand public to see some world-class bowling against a very good Australian attack.”

Ross Taylor added that India had a fair lot of success in England as well. He also stated that he was sure the Indian bowlers would have enjoyed the swing and the bounce that the Dukes’ ball offers.

“We are looking forward to the challenge. You go through the Indian line-up, and there are just world-class players throughout. Whatever side they decide to go with, it will have world-class players. India has been a world No.1 side for a long time. They will be very tough opposition,” Ross Taylor added.

Even with a second-string side in the absence of injury-hit players, India beat the mighty Australian side at home in the 2020/21 season to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The victory also helped the side earn crucial points in the WTC and boosted their chances of making it to the tournament final. However, India comes into this game having not contested a single Test match since February-March 2021 against England at home.

Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy Image Source : AP IMAGE
Brisbane Test: India beat Australia by 3 wickets at Gabba to win series 2-1, retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Image Source: AP IMAGE

New Zealand, on the other hand, beat England at Birmingham less than a week ago to win their first series in the country in 22 years. The 1-0 series win also helped them displace India from the No.1 Test spot. Ross Taylor believes the England series has helped them acclimatize to the conditions ahead of the WTC final.

“It was an ideal preparation, having played two Test matches against England in these conditions. Cannot think of anything better,” Ross Taylor further added.

Currently ranked 19th in the latest ICC Test Rankings for batsmen, Ross Taylor will be playing his 108th Test for New Zealand when New Zealand meets India at Southampton. Already New Zealand’s highest run-getter in Test cricket, Ross Taylor is only the fourth Black Caps cricketer after the likes of Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, and Brendon McCullum to play over 100 Tests for his nation.